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October 21, 1974

Addictive Drugs and Alcoholism

JAMA. 1974;230(3):375. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030017013

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To the Editor.—  Dr. Paul W. Cochran, in "Drugs for Anxiety" (229:521, 1974), asks whether he is "alone in the woods" in regard to his experience with diazepam. I am sure that large numbers of physicians and patients would agree with him, could they be heard from, particularly in regard to one of our gravest and commonest problems, the severe and growing misuse of addictive drugs as a "treatment" for alcoholism.Mild warnings and unclear evaluations have concealed a really grave problem. The large number of suicide attempts by drug overdose, nearly always a culmination of protracted misuse, is one indication of the havoc caused by these drugs. Further evidence comes from extensive experience in the Intergroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous of greater New York: 75% of alcoholics entering the "Intergroup" now are misusing one or more such drugs, namely barbiturates, amphetamines, and various substances that have been so tragically